With people thronging cooler areas for respite from the heatwave, traffic jams are being witnessed on several routes in Uttarakhand.
Owing to traffic jams, the commuting time from Haridwar to the four Himalayan shrines (Char Dham) in Garhwal has doubled. It is taking almost 18 hours to reach Badrinath from Haridwar, an official in Chamoli said.
Over 80,000 vehicles pass through Haridwar on a daily basis these days, Haridwar SSP Janmejay Khanduri said. Additional forces had been deployed to control the traffic but tourists remain stuck in traffic jams from four to five hours, he added.
The situation is not unique to Haridwar. Even Rishikesh, Mussoorie, Dehradun, Rudraprayag, Gangotri, Yamunotri and Nainital are facing a similar problem.
According to Joshimath Block Pramukh Prakash Rawat, the debris left during the construction of all-weather roads had added to commuters’ woes beyond Rishikesh.
Though the widening of the roads was suspended due to the pilgrim season, the debris deposited on Chamoli-Joshimath stretch was contributing to traffic jams, Rawat said. He said timely removal of the debris would have saved the situation.
However, Chamoli District Magistrate Swati S Bhadoria said the debris had been removed from most places and it was being removed from the remaining places on a war footing.
The biggest factor contributing to traffic jams was the rise in the number of small vehicles entering the state on a daily basis and a shortage of parking lots, she said.
The stretch from Janki Chatti to Syana Chatti on the way to the Yamunotri shrine and the 13-km road from Ganganani to Sukki Top on the way to Gangotri are witnessing traffic bottlenecks, allowing only two vehicles to pass at a time.
Uttarkashi District Magistrate Ashish Chauhan blamed the increasing rush of vehicles on the roads to Yamunotri and Gangotri.
Since the opening of the portals at the Yamunotri and Gangotri temples on May 7, 51,480 small vehicles have reached the shrines till now. The figure for the entire season stood at 56,291 last year.
Nainital-bound vehicles were being parked at temporary parking lots near the Rusi bypass and at Charkhet on the Kaladhungi road to decongest city roads, Nainital ADM Harbir Singh said.
“Those who leave their vehicles at the parking lots are being sent to Nainital by a shuttle service,” he said.
There was a long traffic snarl on the Mussoorie-Haridwar road on Monday, which was cleared with the deployment of additional police personnel, SP (City) Shweta Chaubey said.